How was everyone’s Halloween? We got ZERO trick-or-treaters, which is so surprising. We have plenty of children in our complex, but maybe we are scary (or too far) by being a back-facing apartment down a set of stairs? Everyone I talked to this year mentioned that they had fewer as well. Is trick-or-treating no longer the “in” thing? Is everyone going to parties and trunk-or-treats? (Unless you live out in the country where there is too much distance between houses, I do not see the appeal of trunk-or-treats, by the way.) I was lucky enough to grow up on a cul-de-sac in a sprawling neighborhood that was flooded with children. Our street, at one point, had about 40 children amongst the seventeen or so houses. We walked blocks on Halloween night, all through the other neighborhoods. M grew up in a more rural, wooded area, but all of Main Street took on the responsibility of creating an amazing Halloween atmosphere, so the further houses would drive down to let their children trick-or-treat in town. So I just don’t get it. And now, I’m left with so much Halloween candy…oy.
Otherwise, November has been off to a pretty rocky start. M is on a full week of tech rehearsals and performances, meaning he starts work late enough that I don’t see him before I go to bed and he sleeps past when I leave in the morning. We are communicating through texts, post-it notes, and leftovers. On Tuesday, I also had my longest-lasting gall bladder attack, yet. Thankfully, it wasn’t the most severe, pain-wise, but certainly the longest time in constant pain, from 10pm until almost 5 in the morning. I did not get any sleep and I still feel like I am recovering from that. Ugh. I am counting down the weeks (6!) until my surgery and hopefully then this will all be over. (Though I am steadfastly not thinking about the surgery part. Eek!)
Anyways, as a proper lead up to Thanksgiving this year, I though I would update a few old posts with some badly-needed new photos and share a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes every Friday! We are starting things off with my #1 Thanksgiving necessity: stuffing. After I had to skip it on my very first GF Thanksgiving (just two months after cutting gluten) I spent the rest of that first year endlessly researching this stuffing. Growing up, my mom always used the Pepperidge Farms mix, with the tiny shriveled, dry cornbread pieces and the packet of seasoning. It is the taste of my childhood Thanksgivings, so I knew I wanted to make a gluten-free stuffing that emulated those flavors. This recipe uses a combo of home-made cornbread (baked in a jelly-roll pan, so is nice and thin) and store-bought GF bread. Just be sure to give the bread a few days to dry out (or at least some solid time in a low-temp oven the day before Thanksgiving). Drier = better, here.
I have successfully made this stuffing in a crockpot, in a separate dish in the oven, and stuffed into the turkey, so it should stand up to any of your preferences. These days, I also like to jazz things up with added cranberries, like in the photos*, or roasted chestnuts, or even some sage sausage (just cook the meet before adding it to the stuffing). Add up to 2 cups of these additional mix-ins after stirring in the melted butter and before adding the chicken broth to the bread mixture.
Click through for the recipe for Knock-off Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing!
*the dish in the photos is holding a 1/2 batch of this recipe in an 8×8 dish!
The big day is just a week away! While many bloggers are posting a recipe a day, with every dish you need for your Thanksgiving meal, I’ve got to be honest with you: I have a huge fundraising event on Sunday, a final paper due on December 1st, and our shows’ going up on December 12. We currently have half of a set that is 3/4 painted, and are only just beginning to make progress on props and costumes. I am up to my ears in cardboard, feathers, and comparative assessments. If it were left up to me, there would be no Thanksgiving at all this year. I’ve turned most of the responsibility over to M’s mum (which she did suggest before I said anything at all!) She has been gracious enough to host most of my family as well, angel that she is. So I’ll make a batch of cornbread tomorrow to allow it plenty of time to go stale (for my Knockoff Pepperidge Farm’s Stuffing–a must) and I will set aside my paper for long enough on Wednesday to whip up a couple of pies, but that will be the extent of my Thanksgiving contributions.
Luckily, I do have a handful of recipes from seasons past that just might be the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. Check out below for ideas on stuffings, breads, desserts, and even breakfast for the big day!
My Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing will absolutely be gracing our table. It is the closest it could be to the real deal! And, it is totally chill with tasty, extra additions like precooked sausage, cranberries, and chestnuts! Just gently stir right before the stuffing goes into the oven!
How about some French Bread? Perfect as a base to cube for traditional stuffing, or to slice as is for the table.
Popovers are always first in line on our table at any occasion.
This Quinoa and Wild Rice Stuffing is chock full of apples, squash, sausage and herbs, and a nice change from traditional bread stuffings.
I am all about my pies at Thanksgiving. This year, I’ll be making Bourbon-Toasted Pecan and an adaptation of Deb Perelman’s Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie. And I’ll be using the Best Gluten-Free Pie Crust for both!
Or how about some Coconut-Pumpkin Custard for a dairy-free dessert option?
Chocolate-Coffee Pots De Creme are surprisingly simple, but make for an elegant (and MAKE-AHEAD) end to the evening.
Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies have all the flavors of Thanksgiving paired with the comfort of chocolatey brownies. The recipe is a cinch to whip up well ahead of the big Turkey day!
These Pumpkin Scones makes the perfect breakfast on a busy Thanksgiving morning. Make ahead and freeze, then thaw for a delicious start to a hectic day!
Well, Thanksgiving was about as successful as we expected it to be…so, not half-bad. 🙂 We had a ridiculous amount of food, as all cooks involved got slightly overzealous. The six of us found ourselves with enough food for at least a dozen guests, if not more. At final count we had the turkey, 2 types of stuffing, cranberry relish, popovers, spinach, gravy, sweet potatoes, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, braised carrots, ratatouille, hummus, crab dig with french bread and brie with cranberry chutney. As I said, ridiculous. Ah well, we’ve reached day four of leftovers and I’m just about done with “Thanksgiving” flavors. That being said, the shredded Turkey barbecue sandwiches, re-fried roasted potato salad, and coleslaw that graced last night’s dinner plater were awesome. Use the strong flavors of regional foods (Asia, Barbecue, Mexican, etc) to jazz up the last of the leftovers languishing in your fridge!
I stayed in my pajamas through the parade and the dog show (and most of the cooking). And started the day off right with one or three of these:
M was (mostly) in charge of the turkey this year. We talked briefly about brining, something neither of us have ever attempted and decided not to try it. Instead, we rubbed the whole turkey with herbed butter (including beneath the skin), tossed an onion, celery, carrots, apple, thyme, and cinnamon into the cavity and let it go. It roasted for about 5.5 hours and we found ourselves with this transformation:
We followed Alton Brown’s tips generally and look at the perfect browning! M and I have agree to try brining next year, simply because we are curious, but the herbed butter added succulence to the crisp skin and help keep this mostly moist. The loose “stuffing” of vegetables shortened the cook time, reduced our risk of undercooked bread dressing, and added a boost of flavor to the turkey.
Meanwhile, I made my Gluten-Free Knockoff Pepperidge Farms Cornbread Stuffing again (and in the crock pot again), and added toasted pine nuts and cooked cranberries (cranberries+1 Tbsp each sugar and water, cooked for 15-20 minutes over medium heat until most berries have burst) as I ladled it into a casserole pan and finished it to crispy in the oven. Unfortunately (again! ughh!) I forgot to take a proper photo of the stuffing. I’ll have to stuff a chicken soon (when we’re ready to face a roasted bird again) and get some proper photos for you all! The addition of pine nuts and cranberries was amazing! I think I’ll try some new flavors (sausage!) next time.
The sweet potato souffle was forgotten amidst the last minute popover baking. But I’d trade souffle for popovers any day.
The paler rolls are made from my French bread recipe. Those were slightly disappointing. I had trouble getting the rise I wanted out of the dough, but I’ll be working with this dough to see what other kinds of bread I can make in the future! The actual loaves of French Bread turned out beautifully:
Picture-perfect next to my bread cubes, pre-stuffing. 🙂
Our downfall this year, aside from the vast quantities of food, was offering very filling appetizers. The family tradition of pickles and olives is just right, enough to nibble on when the smells drifting from the oven become overwhelming. But we also put out crab dip and my mother’s infamous brie with cranberry chutney. Bad choice. My mom was the only one to think to pace herself while I, as usual, inhaled the brie. (There’s a reason I don’t stockpile cranberries in the freezer…the ability to make this chutney outside of Oct-Jan would be deadly). By the time we sat down at the table, my mother was the only one who could finish her first plate!
Really, how could you resist? I’ll be posting this delectable chutney recipe very soon. I’m planning to can up a few jars for Christmas gifts within the week! I have a ton of recipes and posts to share–Punc graduated her Puppy class on the Monday before Thanksgiving, I have several more recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers (in the meantime, check out last year’s Turkey-Broccoli Quiche and Mashed Potato Pancakes). I already mentioned last night’s barbecue dinner. It was simple enough: I shredded up slices of Turkey and added storebought barbecue sauce, hot sauce, and a touch of chicken broth until coated. I modified this Mustard-Dill Vinagrette and poured it over sliced roasted potatoes that I had pan-fried. I cobbled together a poor excuse for coleslaw dressing and shredded some cabbage and a couple carrot. Serve as sandwiches and you’re done! Bet you won’t guess it’s Thanksgiving leftovers!
Hope everyone had a lovely holiday!
We had our first frost last night. When I’m home this evening I’ll have to rescue the basil and turn most of it into pesto. But, for now, I want to share one of my new favorite recipes. I needed to clear out the vegetable bin and I was craving a healthy, heart, warming meal. I took stock of what we had, and starting throwing things in a pan…an unusual approach to cooking, for me. I like measurements and precision and details. Throwing ingredients together is more M’s style, which I appreciate. It’s nice to be surprised by how ingredients combine. So I was even more proud of myself when this toss-together dish turned out to be so delicious! This is what I had to work with:
Plus some quinoa and wild rice and a yellow onion I added later. I had purchased the sopressata (sausage) and the gouda in preparation for Hurricane Sandy. Both are smoked, dry, and aged, strong additions to any grain salad. The peppers, onions, celery, and carrot were simple enough, a fairly common modified-mirepoix that we make. I wanted some sweetness to link to the basil and the acorn squash, which was begging to be paired with a flavorful, filling stuffing. An apple was the perfect bridge.
So, I set up the quinoa and wild rice to simmer while I preheated the oven. I cleared the seeds from the squash (rinse them clean, dried ’em, and roasted them up–perfection!) and rubbed the halves with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, brown sugar, and worcestershire sauce. After tossing them into the oven, I diced up the onions, celery, and carrots, and finely diced the peppers, sausage, apple (coat with a few teaspoons of lemon juice to keep from browning), and gouda.
With a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet, I added the chopped carrots, celery, onion, peppers, and the white portion of the green onions, and cooked them until the onions turned translucent and all softened. Then I added the apple and cooked for a few minutes more, seasoning all with 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), and salt and pepper. I added 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil, warming enough to melt the butter before removing the pan from the heat and adding the cheese, sausage, quinoa, wild rice, almonds, green onions, and chopped basil. After stirring it all together, I ladle the mixture into the squash, pop it back in the oven for 20 minutes and serve.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I am in loooove with this dish. The complex flavors still compliment one another, from the sweet, soft apple against the nutty wild rice, to the peppery bite of sopressata sausage and the spice squash. Plus, there’s the added benefit of knowing how healthy the dish is. I always feel better when I eat quinoa, and this dish is no exception. It was even better the next day, after the flavors settled even more. M and I finished this off within three days. I had grand plans for filling omelets with the mix, but, inevitably, I finished the serving before I could add this stuffing to any other dish. By itself, it is enough to make me smile (and chow down!) I think this would make an excellent, unique stuffing or dressing for Thanksgiving dinner! If you do not want to serve it in squash (despite the lovely presentation that makes), you can just serve it in a large casserole dish, with the addition of chopped squash or without. We will add this to our Christmas dinner list, since our Thanksgiving is already overwhelmed with stuffings, but, I wouldn’t be surprised if this dish becomes dinner again before then!
Autumn Harvest Stuffed Squash
For the Squash
- 1 large acorn squash, halved and de-seeded
- 1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. coconut oil, melted and cooled
For the Stuffing
- 1/3 cup quinoa, toasted and well-rinsed
- 1/3 cup wild rice
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium banana peppers, finely diced
- 1 small apple (honey crisp, gala, fuji, or granny smith), finely diced
- 2 green onions, diced, whites and greens separated
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) sopressata (or similar dry smoked sausage), finely diced
- 1/4 cup (2 oz) smoked gouda, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp (about 12 leaves) basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp almonds, toasted and finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice (plus more for coating apple)
- 1-2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. chinese 5 spice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper
- Optional: 1/4-1 tsp cayenne pepper (I would have loved a little more heat!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Set wild rice to cook according to package directions. Toast dry quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant, stirring constantly to keep from burning. Rinse quinoa well in fine-mesh sieve, then cook according to package directions. Rub squash with mixture of coconut oil, brown sugar, and worcestershire sauce, set to roast in oven for 1 hour. Dice vegetables, nuts, herbs, and apple. Coat apple with lemon juice to keep from browning.
Coat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add diced onion, celery, carrot, pepper, and whites of green onion, cook until softened. Add apple and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with all spices, olive oil, butter, and lemon juice, then add remaining ingredients (green portions of green onions, cheese, sausage, garlic, almonds, basil). Stir to combine. Add quinoa and wild rice, mix thoroughly, and spoon into cooked squash. Place stuffed squash back into oven and heat through for 20 additional minutes. Serve.
Variations: Remove skin from squash, dice, and stir into stuffing mixture.
This year’s Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had unexpected visits from a few of my friends from high school. Their presence was very much appreciated, as we had more than enough food for six people, let alone the four that we had initially planned on. Everything went off without a hitch. That entire table you see is gluten-free (excluding the stuffing in the metal bowl on the bottom right). It was such a relief to know that I wouldn’t be paying for such delicious food in a few hours.
My Pepperidge Farms knockoff homemade gluten-free stuffing was perfect! In fact, it won over my mother: we can use my (entirely gluten-free) next year, inside the bird. So next year’s holiday really will be completely free of gluten.
Thanksgiving table 2011
Knock-off Pepperidge Farm’s Cornbread Stuffing (gluten-free!)
- – 1 batch Old Fashioned Cornbread, cubed (about 4 cups)
- – 8-10 slices of gluten-free whitebread, cubed (about 2-3 cups) (I used Udi’s)
- – 1 c. chopped onion
- – 1 c. chopped celery
- – 3-3 1/2 c. chicken broth*
- – 6 Tbsp butter, melted
- – 2 Tbsp poultry seasoning OR 1 tsp each: marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, onion powder, & parsley
- -1 tsp (additional) onion powder
- -2 tsp paprika
- -salt & pepper to taste
My stuffing is in the center, behind the bottle of red wine. As I mentioned, I used Nicole Hunn’s Old Fashioned Cornbread recipe (which is naturally gf!), baked thin, as a base. I also added about half a loaf of Udi’s white bread. I chopped both breads into small cubes, and let them sit uncovered on the counter fr three days to dry out. The afternoon before Thanksgiving, I placed the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a 150 degrees F oven for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You want the bread to be very dry.
On the morning of Thanksgiving, place the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 Tbsp of the melted butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add your chopped onion and celery. Sauté vegetables until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Pour remaining melted butter over bread along with cooked vegetables. Stir to incorporate. Return saucepan to heat, add in chicken stock and all spices. Cook for about 10 minutes, until broth is hot and spices are fragrant. Slowly pour broth over bread cubes, mixing constantly. Once all broth is soaked in, loosely stuff mixture into Turkey cavity for proper stuffing. Cook turkey according to package directions for “stuffed bird”. Or spoon mixture into baking dish or crockpot for dressing. In baking dish, cook dressing for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. In crockpot, cook dressing on low for 4-6 hours. If able, baste dressing periodically through cook time with drippings from turkey pan.
*Use the greater amount of broth if you are cooking the mixture outside of the bird, as a dressing, or if you prefer a very wet dressing. Stuffing will absorb some juices from the turkey, and needs a little less broth initially.